Down Vashon Highway they came — in streamer and balloon-festooned pickup trucks, muscle cars, minivans, family sedans, vintage cars, and even one four-wheeler and a go-cart.
And as they arrived in town, they saw hundreds of islanders had lined the road to cheer them on.
They were the 131 graduates of Vashon Island High School (VHS) Class of 2022 — an intrepid group of teenagers who have navigated a pandemic since the middle of their sophomore year in high school.
But on Saturday, they finally had their time in the sun at what has become a treasured tradition on Vashon — a car parade on graduation day.
The tradition began in June of 2020, when the car parade comprised the entire graduation ceremony, ending at Vashon High School, where kids jumped out of their cars to collect their diplomas from Principal Danny Rock in front of the school, and then dash back to the safety of their vehicles.
But this year, the procession of cars was just the prelude to a day of festivities including a full graduation ceremony in the VHS stadium.
During the parade, hosted by Voice of Vashon, the graduates all slowed their vehicles at the outdoor stage in front of the radio station, where many were lovingly roasted and ribbed by emcees Jeff and Cindy Hoyt, who read fun and sometimes embarrassing facts about the seniors, submitted by the grads’ parents.
The audience cheered and chuckled along as the confident grads good-naturedly endured the Hoyts’ brief recounting of their preschool-era peccadillos, their picky eating habits, and some of their more unusual childhood wardrobe choices.
And then they moved on — down the road, toward commencement, and new beginnings.